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Video: Remembering <br>the Thomas Fire, <br>One Year Later

Video: Remembering
the Thomas Fire,
One Year Later

Posted: December 4, 2018

At 6:28 p.m., one year ago today, flames erupted just a half mile from the California campus of Thomas Aquinas College. The ensuing inferno, later named the Thomas Fire for its proximity to the campus, would become the most destructive fire in California’s recorded history. Over the course of nearly six weeks, it ravaged more than 280,000 acres, destroying nearly 1,100 structures. Yet by God’s grace, and through the work of U.S. Forest Service firefighters, the campus was mostly spared, with no major structures seriously damaged.

On the first night of the fire — when the conflagration literally encircled the campus — all students were safely evacuated, but President Michael F. McLean; his wife, Lynda; and five fellow members of the community stayed behind to protect the building and support first responders. Among those was Facilities Manager Clark Tulberg, who has recounted the events of that night, as well as the ongoing recovery, for CAPS media’s Thomas Fire Stories Project for the Museum of Ventura County. See his harrowing testimonial, complete with images of the fire and recordings of 911 phone calls, in the videos below:

“On behalf of the Church in Phoenix, I want to express my appreciation of the witness to Christ offered by the faculty, staff, and students of this exceptional institution, and to thank you for your love of learning and your desire to offer fitting worship to the Blessed Trinity.”

– Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted

Bishop of Phoenix